Mauricio Pochettino has called his Spurs players ‘heroes’ after they secured a place in next months Champions League final with a sensational comeback over Ajax.
After last night’s drama which saw Liverpool overturn a 3-0 first leg deficit against Spanish giants Barcelona with a sensational 4-0 win, tonight’s game in Amsterdam somehow managed to top the Anfield drama.
Trailing from the first leg, Matthijs de Ligt’s fifth-minute goal put Ajax firmly in the driving seat, before Hakim Ziyech made it 3-0 on aggregate to give the Dutch side what seemed like an unassailable lead.
However, for the second successive night, there was plenty more drama to unfold, with Lucas Moura scoring two goals in four minutes just before the hour mark, before the Brazilian completed his hat-trick in the 96th minute to send Tottenham to their first ever Champions League final.
Speaking after the game, an emotional Mauricio Pochettino praised his entire squad, but called hat-trick hero Moura a ‘superhero’.
“[It’s] Still difficult to talk. The emotion is amazing, thank you to football,” Pochettino told BT Sport.
“My players are heroes – in the last year I was telling everyone this group are heroes. The second half they were amazing. Thank you football – this type of emotion without football is no possible. Thank you to everyone who has believed in us. To describe this in words is difficult.
“We were talking before the game that when you work and when you feel the love, it’s not stress, it’s passion of the team. We showed we love the sport and football. Today was amazing. It was a joy to watch this kind of game.
“It’s difficult to compete at this level. I am so grateful to be a coach. To be in football and to live this type of football.
“They are all heroes but [Lucas Moura] was a superhero. From the first to last one – the tough moment to live in the five years before.”
Spurs have one game left in the Premier League, with their place in the top four all but secured, with only a defeat against Everton and an Arsenal victory at Burnley, combined with an eight-goal swing in the Gunners favour being able to alter the top four finishers now.
“We need to be ready for the next game on Sunday then prepare for the final,” Pochettino added.